Shinji and his fans...or lack thereof

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Postby Allemann » Sun Jul 17, 2011 7:10 pm

That Shinji has a considerable share of detractors he can thank his passive–aggressive behavior.

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Postby Draconis » Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:19 am

Sorry for the lack of quality ATM (kind of running on 2 hours of sleep). But here's my half-assed attempt.

I think Shinji's list of detracting qualities greatly outweighs his favorable qualities. Personally, my biggest problem with Shinji is his lack of balls. You'd think that after
1. Losing his mother
2. Being abandoned by his father
3. Piloting a retardedly powerful war machine
4. Killing a bunch of angels
5. Failing to communicate SIMPLE emotions
6. Having people he cares about in danger/near death
7. "Shouldering the fate of humanity"

He'd realize: "Wow, I'm a total fucking pussy and I need to get my shit together because not doing so would be insanely retarded. Obviously my old ways of moping and feeling sorry for myself don't fix a damn thing, so I should probably at least TRY things."

So he's the hero. So what? Does that mean you're allowed to sit on your ass, do nothing, and expect your personal problems to be solved on their own? He repeatedly acknowleges his issues but keeps on doing things the exact same way he's always been. And how well did his life turn out because of it? (Rhetorical question.)

Last I knew, a hero was supposed to actively try to solve their problems--not wait to be handed the fuckin' big red Easy Button to just make it all go away.

Sure, he's got problems. Sure, they make him more real. Sure, he's not the idealistic macho mecha hero. But heroes don't willfully allow their problems to not only ruin their lives, but to dictate every aspect of them. If they do, at least to me, they aren't a true hero. And let's face it: That's EXACTLY what Shinji does.

"Nobody understands me/what I want."
Speak up, pussy. Nobody knows it if you're just sitting there, crying, and feeling sorry for yourself.

"It's an enormous burden to carry."
Like you're alone? Let people around you lend you their strength. If encouragement and praise is what you need to keep going, TELL PEOPLE THAT.

"My father hates me."
So you're father is one fry short of a Happy Meal. That's his fault--not yours. There are other people for you in life than just him. You could AT LEAST try to guilt trip him into realizing what a worthless piece of shit he is.

It's because of his lack of balls--along with his various other detractors--that Shinji quickly became just something that had to be there for plot purposes. I only really gave him consideration when he was interacting with other characters. But usually then, I only ended up hating him more and wanting to beat the kid straight.

So far, all I've found for reasons why people even really caring about his existence is the general statement: "He's real and relatable, so I like him." So you can relate to closed-minded, mentally ill, spineless, unwilling-to-change children?

The only things I'll give you as far as how you can relate to him go are his subconscious (but eventually/inevitably VERY conscious [EOE *cough*]) sexual desires (he's a guy; you can't always hold it against him), and his issues with his father. But if instinctual sexual desire is all you need to "relate" to someone, then you can relate to every person who's ever lived, along with every person who hasn't (unless that character is completely unrealistic). And parental issues are indeed tragic and relatable, but if that's all it takes for you to forgive everything else...

After all's said and done, you're left with one good quality: He's a good kid. WHOA WHAT A PRODIGY!

Anyway, there's my rant. I'm losing my ability to even read words on the screen now, so feel free to correct me if anything I said is blatantly inaccurate. My mind is a haze...

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Postby Xard » Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:44 am

View Original PostDraconis wrote:So far, all I've found for reasons why people even really caring about his existence is the general statement: "He's real and relatable, so I like him." So you can relate to closed-minded, mentally ill, invertebrate, unwilling-to-change children?


:rofl:

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Nice, Xard. That's nice.

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Postby Hyper Shinchan » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:26 am

View Original PostDraconis wrote:He'd realize: "Wow, I'm a total fucking pussy and I need to get my shit together because not doing so would be insanely retarded. Obviously my old ways of moping and feeling sorry for myself don't fix a damn thing, so I should probably at least TRY things."

But Shinji tried to do things, he just kept falling because of plot.
View Original PostDraconis wrote:So he's the hero. So what? Does that mean you're allowed to sit on your ass, do nothing, and expect your personal problems to be solved on their own? He repeatedly acknowleges his issues but keeps on doing things the exact same way he's always been. And how well did his life turn out because of it? (Rhetorical question.)

Many people do this, you can easily acknowledge your issues, but solving them is another matter.
View Original PostDraconis wrote:Last I knew, a hero was supposed to actively try to solve their problems--not wait to be handed the fuckin' big red Easy Button to just make it all go away.

You're missing the point, Shinji's not a hero.
View Original PostDraconis wrote:"Nobody understands me/what I want."
Speak up, pussy. Nobody knows it if you're just sitting there, crying, and feeling sorry for yourself.

You could end up hurting yourself if you expose your feelings, this was his problem, he somehow accepted it only after Instrumentality.
View Original PostDraconis wrote:"It's an enormous burden to carry."
Like you're alone? Let people around you lend you their strength. If encouragement and praise is what you need to keep going, TELL PEOPLE THAT.

Like it's going to change the fact that Rei exploded and she's his mother's clone, Asuka was mind-raped and so on... by the end of NGE almost everyone would have gone crazy.
View Original PostDraconis wrote:"My father hates me."
So you're father is one fry short of a Happy Meal. That's his fault--not yours. There are other people for you in life than just him. You could AT LEAST try to guilt trip him into realizing what a worthless piece of shit he is.

Actually he's more concerned that his father doesn't need him, he can't see any worthiness in himself if his own father disregard him. You could say that he was wrong to fixate on him but probably Shinji spent years thinking about this issue (he was also a child back when Gendo abandoned him and during NGE he's adolescent, one of the worst period of your life), until he trapped himself.
View Original PostDraconis wrote:It's because of his lack of balls--along with his various other detractors--that Shinji quickly became just something that had to be there for plot purposes.

Ahem, it's a fictional work, everything is there just for plot purposes.... Rei became a pile of symbolic shit by the end of NGE...
Actually Evangelion wouldn't be Evangelion if Shinji wasn't like that.
View Original PostDraconis wrote:So far, all I've found for reasons why people even really caring about his existence is the general statement: "He's real and relatable, so I like him." So you can relate to closed-minded, mentally ill, invertebrate, unwilling-to-change children?

Yes, because obviously most of us were like him (to various degrees) during adolescence and even now we can empathise with him.
View Original PostDraconis wrote:The only things I'll give you as far as how you can relate to him go are his subconscious (but eventually/inevitably VERY conscious [EOE *cough*]) sexual desires (he's a guy; you can't always hold it against him), and his issues with his father. But if instinctual sexual desire is all you need to "relate" to someone, then you can relate to every person who's ever lived, along with every person who hasn't (unless that character is completely unrealistic). And parental issues are indeed tragic and relatable, but if that's all it takes for you to forgive everything else...

No, personally it's mainly because of his issues with human relations that I relate with Shinji.
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Postby Bagheera » Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:44 am

View Original PostDraconis wrote:Personally, my biggest problem with Shinji is his lack of balls.


That right there tells me you completely missed the point of the exercise.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby Draconis » Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:55 am

View Original PostBagheera wrote:That right there tells me you completely missed the point of the exercise.


Last I checked, the topic was about why Shinji lacks fans. I don't recall that changing. So I gave my reasons why I'm not a fan of his, and other haters probably share similar sentiments. So I'm not sure what you even mean.

Oh and so far, it seems Rebuild Shinji is way more likeable than NGE Shinji. He seems to have a better idea of when he needs to nut up, he actively persues what he wants (rescuing Rei), and he's not crying and moping AS MUCH (wouldn't be Shinji if he didn't do it at all). He also has a very necessary touch of badass that comes out when it needs to.

@ The whole debate on whether or not Shinji could've saved Asuka in EOE:

It doesn't matter if Eva 01 was trapped in bakelite or not. When you listen to him while he's just sitting there looking at it, it's obvious he has no huge desire or care to go help her. It's all about "wah wah even if I COULD get to it wah wah wah." It's the intent that matters.

He also knows very well that Eva 01 responds when he's under extreme duress. Sorry if I misread earlier in this thread, but I think someone said that in the manga he yells at it or something and Yui moves for him? (Sorry, don't read manga.) But this makes perfect sense. And he doesn't even TRY it in EOE.

Also, it doesn't matter if she was ultimately going to be tanged anyway. He was too busy crying about he, himself, and him that he couldn't save Asuka from one hell of a horrible death.

AND, Misato didn't have to suffer a painful bleedout from a gunshot wound because SOMEONE had to go find him in his crying corner before he was executed. (Again, tang irrelevant.)

@ Hyper Shinchan: I'll respond to your post later. BBL

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Postby Bagheera » Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:59 am

View Original PostDraconis wrote:Last I checked, the topic was about why Shinji lacks fans. I don't recall that changing. So I gave my reasons why I'm not a fan of his, and other haters probably share similar sentiments. So I'm not sure what you even mean.


What I mean is that the reasons you gave aren't valid. Shinji doesn't lack balls (he's actually quite brave), but he's not supposed to be a hero. Your expectations of him are biasing your understanding of his character and you're not seeing who he's supposed to be or what role he's actually supposed to fill.

You have, as I said, missed the point of the exercise (the exercise being NGE, not the thread topic).
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby Shogo-Kun » Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:47 am

View Original PostBagheera wrote:What I mean is that the reasons you gave aren't valid. Shinji doesn't lack balls (he's actually quite brave), but he's not supposed to be a hero. Your expectations of him are biasing your understanding of his character and you're not seeing who he's supposed to be or what role he's actually supposed to fill.

You have, as I said, missed the point of the exercise (the exercise being NGE, not the thread topic).


Isn't there a quote from Tsurumaki that basically says "If you can communicate perfectly in real ife, you won't learn anything." I'm guessing this guy probably is part of NGE's misaimed fandom.
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Postby Bagheera » Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:54 am

View Original PostShogo-Kun wrote:Isn't there a quote from Tsurumaki that basically says "If you can communicate perfectly in real ife, you won't learn anything." I'm guessing this guy probably is part of NGE's misaimed fandom.


Sounds about right.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby NemZ » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:40 am

Draconis wrote:It's the intent that matters.


THIS.

Hyper Shinchan wrote:You're missing the point, Shinji's not a hero.


You're missing the point. He IS a hero in those moments when he finally stops letting fear keep him from acting. It's only because we know he has it in him to step up that his failure to do it is so profoundly disappointing.

I mean he can easily be placed on Cambell's heroic monomyth, though Shinji being Shinji takes things out of order, repeatedly falls back to refusing the call and depending on your reading of the ending(s) he even fucks up the return after being dragged to the apotheosis without his own efforts.
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Postby C.A.P. » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:48 am

People might disagree with me on this, but from a story perspective, Shinji is a reactable character; if you want him to be interesting, there has to be intriguing circumstances around him to work with, so when an Angel battle is about to happen, he's allowed to go through a shew of emotions to get it, because events such as that can easily overwhelm anyone; people are not going to stick with an emotion and stay in it. However, once you leave the character alone, without anyone for him to talk to, you realize that you can't do anything with the character, because if you try to give him positive emotions to actually work with, then it contrasts with the emotional construction of Shinji's character, so as a result, you're stuck with a meek, timid man who can't enrich himself because that's not who he is. Yeah, he's important to the emotional core of the series, and there's nothing wrong to make a hero a feminine warrior of love and justice, but if you're going to stick to that, then you have to make the character do something thrilling or emotionally, or else you're stuck with a 2-dimensional being that can only do so-and-so and only that so-and-so, and that's not going to do anyone favors.

Heck, when Frank Tashlin was asked on his opinion on Porky Pig, he said he hated working with him, thinking he was a terrible character because "He was nothing, you couldn't do anything with his body." So even back then, some strong animation directors had problems working with limited characters, despite audience's opinion on the character.
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Postby Bagheera » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:50 am

View Original PostNemZ wrote:You're missing the point. He IS a hero in those moments when he finally stops letting fear keep him from acting. It's only because we know he has it in him to step up that his failure to do it is so profoundly disappointing.


I'd be more disappointed if there were something he could reasonably do that didn't amount to "make the plot your bitch!" Because in the context of the story told there wasn't much, depression or no depression.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby Hyper Shinchan » Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:32 pm

View Original PostNemZ wrote:You're missing the point. He IS a hero in those moments when he finally stops letting fear keep him from acting. It's only because we know he has it in him to step up that his failure to do it is so profoundly disappointing.

A part-time hero? Actually I can think only of episode 19 (regarding NGE) as an example of Shinji acting like a hero, in other circumstances he was just forced to act like one by circumstances. I could be wrong though, I'm a little sleepy.
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Postby Draconis » Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:45 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:What I mean is that the reasons you gave aren't valid. Shinji doesn't lack balls (he's actually quite brave), but he's not supposed to be a hero. Your expectations of him are biasing your understanding of his character and you're not seeing who he's supposed to be or what role he's actually supposed to fill.


Uh...

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/protagonist

First definition.

And Anno himself refers to him as the protagonist. Also, the 1.11 and 2.22 booklets. And IIRC, many other people call him the hero--including posters earlier in this thread.

Attacking the weakest point of an argument and not touching the rest isn't really a good response.

View Original PostHyper Shinchan wrote:You could end up hurting yourself if you expose your feelings, this was his problem, he somehow accepted it only after Instrumentality.


Yeah, which is the problem. It took him THE ENTIRE SERIES to finally figure out that that approach to life doesn't get you anywhere.

View Original PostHyper Shinchan wrote:Like it's going to change the fact that Rei exploded and she's his mother's clone, Asuka was mind-raped and so on... by the end of NGE almost everyone would have gone crazy.


I don't even know what you're trying to get at here. I'm talking about the entire series as a whole--not just EOE.

View Original PostHyper Shinchan wrote:Actually he's more concerned that his father doesn't need him, he can't see any worthiness in himself if his own father disregard him. You could say that he was wrong to fixate on him but probably Shinji spent years thinking about this issue (he was also a child back when Gendo abandoned him and during NGE he's adolescent, one of the worst period of your life), until he trapped himself.


You're right, but like you said, he shouldn't have placed all the weight on just his insane father's view of him.

View Original PostHyper Shinchan wrote:Yes, because obviously most of us were like him (to various degrees) during adolescence and even now we can empathise with him.


I'm sorry to hear that. You must have been pretty fucked up. When I look at him, I can only find pity. Kind of like Gollum.

View Original PostHyper Shinchan wrote:No, personally it's mainly because of his issues with human relations that I relate with Shinji.


I'll give you this.

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Postby biodude711 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:48 pm

View Original PostDraconis wrote:I'm sorry to hear that. You must have been pretty fucked up.


Was that really necessary?
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Postby Sailor Star Dust » Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:48 pm

View Original PostDraconis wrote:I'm sorry to hear that. You must have been pretty fucked up.


:rei_meh: Not cool.
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Postby Ornette » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:40 pm

View Original PostDraconis wrote:Uh...

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/protagonist

First definition.

And Anno himself refers to him as the protagonist. Also, the 1.11 and 2.22 booklets. And IIRC, many other people call him the hero--including posters earlier in this thread.

Yes, the part of the definition is "leading character". Like the "or" in the definition precludes, not all protagonists are heroes. Since it's been a while going through the thread, doing a quick search for hero seems to bring up (aside from SSD's OP post) that Shinji is not a hero, shouldn't be one, doesn't fit the common attributes of one, etc.

I think like it's been mentioned before, I can't personally relate to him at all. I was raised very strict, wasn't allowed to have friends, and required to produce only straight A's and participate in all academic extra-curricular activities, but I dealt with varying degrees of success and moved on so I have little pity for someone who can't. At the same time, I recognize some of what the character is going through, those emotions probably happen to everyone at some point in their lives. I recognize that it's not supposed to be easy, the other characters make it even less easy, and the plot makes it even less easy on top of all of that. His position and his role in the story is vital in making the story what it is. The story is pretty good, too, but it doesn't mean I have to like him.

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Postby Xard » Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:53 pm

View Original PostDraconis wrote:Yeah, which is the problem. It took him THE ENTIRE SERIES to finally figure out that that approach to life doesn't get you anywhere.


I've always found this interesting, good question to raise and one of the best criticisms one can level at NGE. Something very similar was said in what I consider to this day the best essay ever written on Eva. Towards the end Lehtinen concluded (my translation):

"I still think that strictly judged Evangelion is a failure. You just can't depict life by making the story as open as life itself, no matter how ingenious such solution might sometimes seem. In EoE's all encompassing apocalypse I see mischievous, even humorous sides and end of the tv series is still painfully clumsy. Every time I watch episode 26 I partly feel happy for Shinji but find myself snorting at stupidity of the story. To say this were 26 episodes really needed? It is one thing to be aware of limitless possibilities of human being and another to watch tv anime in end of which the enlightened protagonist joyously screams "I can search better value for my life". In this sense Shinji in end of the tv series is like the worst crazed believer who now believes uncritically in himself. Reformed willess aumshinrikyoan Shinji has now turned into Jari Sarasvuo. Has any real change happened? Is this really the message that Anno tried to bring forth? In the end of ep 26 it's hard to say anything to Shinji except hello, pleasure to meet you, go away. Anything this cheap I've rarely seen unless Anno's double cleverness intended exactly that viewer is ment to see through hollowness of Shinji's salvation. How different the finale of TV-Evangelion would've been if it had been done with real actors! If the purpose was to show Shinji who perceives himself narrowly and who defines his role confidedly had grown into real human being, one who is flesh and blood, that is something I would've wanted to see. But such thing will not happen. Anime is anime is anime [sic]. Still, even as a failure Evangelion is magnificent failure. All things considered NGE+EoE are not as bad nor as good as each of us would like to think for our own reasons. No negligible and poor tv anime would've caused such furor and discussion."

That essay still years later gives me food for thought as eva fan. Lately I've found myself agreeing with this bit quite much.

View Original PostSailor Star Dust wrote::rei_meh: Not cool.


Well, it's hard to argue with that assertion, really. To be real eva fan one must've been somewhat mentally unbalanced at the time one saw the series, really :hahaha:
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And don't forget to wear the Ran mask.
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Gob Hobblin: Sanctimonious, subtly racist, vaguely misogynist, somehow says something while at the same time saying...nothing, really, at all....

Nice, Xard. That's nice.

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Postby Bagheera » Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:24 pm

View Original PostXard wrote:Well, it's hard to argue with that assertion, really. To be real eva fan one must've been somewhat mentally unbalanced at the time one saw the series, really :hahaha:


I don't think that's necessary, honestly. So long as one is open enough to accept people who aren't like them it's pretty easy to take it all in and run with it. Such is my experience anyway. Past that I think learning to accept other people is one of the main themes of the series, so looking past one's misgivings with certain characters and letting our understanding of them soften our judgement of their actions is part and parcel of the whole endeavor.

Regarding the article: sometimes the best stories are the ones that say the least. NGE's main message is obvious, even banal, but so what? Just because the message is obvious doesn't mean it's easy to put into practice. Particularly with the mind-raping aliens and what-not.

@Draconis: Ornette beat me to the punch with his reply. I attacked the keystone of your argument, not the weakest point; without it, there's really nothing to talk about.

@Ornette: I like the fact that you're not judgemental of Shinji even though you find it difficult to like/relate to him. You are clearly meant to be a critic! :lol: Seriously, that sort of neutrality is damn rare these days. Good job.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

Xard
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Postby Xard » Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:32 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:I don't think that's necessary, honestly. So long as one is open enough to accept people who aren't like them it's pretty easy to take it all in and run with it. Such is my experience anyway. Past that I think learning to accept other people is one of the main themes of the series, so looking past one's misgivings with certain characters and letting our understanding of them soften our judgement of their actions is part and parcel of the whole endeavor.


Well, I was being somewhat facetious (remembering Ornette post a bit above me and all) but overall the uniting feature of any hardcore eva fans is that they found characters relatable. That, of course, includes me too (though I always identified more with Asuka than with Shinji).

View Original PostBagheera wrote:Regarding the article: sometimes the best stories are the ones that say the least. NGE's main message is obvious, even banal, but so what? Just because the message is obvious doesn't mean it's easy to put into practice. Particularly with the mind-raping aliens and what-not.


Not that I disagree with what you say here but it doesn't really address anything anything...

anyway, that is one of the main reasons why I find Eva pretty worthless as a narrative that way overstays its welcome and weak as a story. I do think NGE is a masterpiece but this evaluation has little to do with treating it as another story. I think Eva should be properly seen as "the aimless wanderings of the soul of an introverted boy" as Oshii put it. It has pretty much unrivalled cast and depth of themes and subjects the work "wanders through", questions and ponders on. But as a narrative it doesn't really achieve much and completely loses its shit about halfway through after which the setting, story and the general settei for the work turned into nothing more than excuses for Anno to ruminate on human mind and self.

As a provocative and mostly pretty interesting psychophilosophical ramble and vivid depiction and study of characters Evangelion is truly extraordinary. I treat Eva a bit like piece of music or painting, a non-narrative work when I consider it the best anime. A bit like Oshii's own Angel Egg I don't appraise Evangelion necessary because I find it "deep" but because it depicts extraordinarily well something. For Angel's Egg that something was the void of nihilism following collapse of personal faith, for Eva it's depression and the aforementioned "aimless wanderings" of introverted soul.

But as a story, a narrative, Eva quickly runs out of things to say and eventually loses all storytelling coherency by the time we reach EoTV. Funnily enough Oshii nailed this again (note: Oshii is using word "drama" in rather specific sense here rather than in general, common form) when discussing RahXephon with Izubuchi

But then, it didn't go anywhere from there (laughs).

By anywhere, I mean that when the girl says, "I'm so-and-so," her identity becomes known, and when the main character confirms it, saying "you're so-and-so, aren't you?" is when the story is supposed to end. A drama that can exist without that is actually no drama at all. Conflicts that develop due to the main character being immature can't be called drama. The majority of drama in Japanese animation is that kind of "unnecessary drama". Drama that materializes because just one thing remains unsaid. Or drama that materializes because main character is immature.

Like Eva is drama that would end the instant he says, "I'm going to take responsibility!" Everything converges on that point. And how long you can stretch that out for determines how many episodes the series will last.


The problem with Eva's main theme being simply "don't run away, meet reality and man up!" is that Shinji reaches that point way before end of the series. This means the drama must be built out of viciously unravelling the logical and only valid end point of the narrative, reaching it again, again unravelling the achievements etc.

This first struck me few years ago when I was rewatching the series and reached episode 12. I realized that in it Shinji essentially "manned up" and reached the same point as a character he does in end of the episode 26. He overcomes himself, his fears and weaknesses, declares "NIGECHE DAMEDA" and bravely does his duty as a eva pilot. At that moment Evangelion's main drama was over. All that follows is Shinji getting dragged down, reaching the same moments of realization, getting dragged down again etc.

Episode 19 is even more definitive "ending point" for show's main drama. THAT is where Shinji truly grows up. Unlike ep 12 where you can still rationalize things a bit with Shinji's lingering want for his father's acceptance in ep 19 Shinji does the adult, heroic thing like all well developed heroes have done in fiction. Shinji's growth as character is complete at this point, as can be seen his changed attitude in fights in episodes 22 and 23 as he's ready to put himself in danger for Asuka and Rei. Not "subversive" in the least.

After ep 19 only way Eva manages to milk any more drama is by bringing Shinji down AGAIN and AGAIN up to the ending...in which he reaches point no further than he already had in episodes 12 and 19 (or really, any bit when he decides to not run away like in ep 6), thus continuing the vicious cycle.

End of Evangelion in turn collapses him completely only again to make Shinji realize the same things all over again.

As for Instrumentality... Instrumentality is nothing more than bigger scale repetition of events of ep 16 and ep 20 and as such adds nothing thematically new or storywise fresh either, especially as far as Shinji is concerned.


Actually, with mouth of Shinji Anno acknowledges this. How he will forget and find the same answers again and again in endless cycle without beginning or end. There's reason why Anno said Eva's story isn't over because "he is still alive". Like real life there's no proper end for Eva - which is exactly the point of "You just can't depict life by making the story as open as life itself, no matter how ingenious such solution might sometimes seem".

Endless cycle is worthless narrative. As a static depiction of endless cycle of losing it and facing reality again it's extraordinary, but such thing is no proper narrative at all because narrative fiction is build towards resolution, resolution which Eva was never able to give for it. Or rather, resolution it was forced to give too early.



Eva paints vivid, extraordinary picture but it tells a poor story < would be my bottom line.


For comparison Anno pretty much "stole" all core themes and points he made from Nausicaä manga (by his own admission he was unable to avoid ending the story's themes in different conclusion than Miyazaki did so he ended up just travelling footsteps of Nausicaä vol 7, whether he wanted or not) - which is superior to the Eva in the sense it manages to make its very similar points and handle the mostly same themes just as vividly as Eva while also telling extraordinarily skillfully crafted, incredible story. And it does it all through the story, making it extraordinarily strong and deep piece of narrative fiction. Which is something Eva was never able to do.
ran1: Oh gosh this sentence gave me an internet boner. You're so tsundere.
Mugwump: Goddamn it, Xard! Take me in your arms, you magnificent sex god bastard!
And don't forget to wear the Ran mask.
Eva Yojimbo: You really are the Otaku equivalent of a Catholic and Jew rolled up into one giant dakimakura of guilt.
Gob Hobblin: Sanctimonious, subtly racist, vaguely misogynist, somehow says something while at the same time saying...nothing, really, at all....

Nice, Xard. That's nice.


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